In an effort to get to the root of the fraud and forgery allegations levelled against Uganda Cooperative Alliance(UCA) General Secretary, Ivan Asiimwe, Police has summoned the Board to report to its Criminal Investigations Offices at Nakawa for questioning.
This comes after five other UCA staff including Mr. Asiimwe have been interrogated by Police’s Investigations Department attached to the Uganda National Roads Authority to explain their role in authoring and using the forged resolution. A copy of the letter seen by theCooperator requires the entire board of the UCA to appear at the UNRA premises on Thursday 9:00 am, to explain their role in issuing a board resolution that was inconsistent with the laws governing UCA and cooperatives in general.
Of interest to the police is whether the resolution that bears unsolicited and pasted digitised signatures of the board of directors was certified by the commissioner/ registrar of Cooperative Development. However, the registrar, in a letter to Police denied certifying the said resolution, and disassociated himself from the document.
The same summons refer to a board subcommittee constituted by the board in May this year to investigate allegations of financial mismanagement and misconduct of Mr. Asiimwe. The completed report was submitted to the chairperson of the board on 22nd July 2019. The report, a copy of which theCooperator has seen, pins Mr. Asiimwe for dishonesty and having participated in fraudulent practices:
“when we inquired as to whether the said resolution had been used to transact UCA business, the response from the General Secretary was negative. But a parcel of documents from UNRA included a copy of the said resolution together with the GS’ identification documents i.e. passport, work I.D among others and a submission letter signed by the General Secretary. The burden is therefore beyond mere balance of probabilities but rather a criminal act and gross misconduct on the part of the suspect making way for police investigation and possible prosecution,” the report reads in part.
However, despite the recommendations from the board’s investigative subcommittee, it is not clear if the board and the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives – which are the regulators of UCA, have taken any steps to restore stability at UCA, which remains central to the health of the entire cooperative sector.
theCooperator has learned that prior to the release of the subcommittee’s report, State Minister for Cooperatives Fredrick Gume Ngobi had scheduled a meeting with the UCA board to discuss the same issue on 9th July 2019, which was later postponed to 23rd July 2019. But the same meeting would again be postponed to a yet to be communicated date.
Instead, in a surprising twist of events, theCooperator has further learned that the board Chairman Mr. Johnas Tweyambe and treasurer Father Emmanuel Safari recently wrote a letter to the police, asking them to drop the investigations against Mr. Asiimwe, a request which was denied.
Although the motives of Mr. Tweyambe’s letter are not yet clear, the development has raised more questions about the integrity of the board, and its suitability to steer the Cooperative body back to health.